The Great New Outbreak. How we Could have Stopped It – A Response to Bill Gates

November 19th, 2020

From the past, humanity has learned and adapted to become stronger and better in all things; Military, agriculture, infrastructure, and especially medicine. There has been no point in history in which humans have had better medical technology and care than today. However, despite our impressive growth, we still lack the proper structures and teams needed in the case a massive epidemic occurs, and failing to properly learn from our past with previous epidemics — Such as the Spanish Flu relatively recently in 1918 — has lead to our current predicament with the COVID-19 Virus and its widespread carnage across the globe, forcing entire countries to close down in an ill attempt to try and stop the virus. Bill Gates states in his TED Talk, done in 2015, that we are completely unprepared if a super-virus were to germinate and cause a massive outbreak, as we have no specialists nor any programs set in place focused on the suppression of outbreaks, either within this country or in a foreign one. Due to a lack of funding and care towards this potential issue, none of these outbreak suppression teams have been created. During the Ebola incident in Africa, support was created in response to the virus, and while we managed to contain it with specialized teams, the massive amounts of deaths it brought could have been avoided if these response teams were already pre-established and ready to respond, rather than being fabricated after the Ebola virus spread. With today, as we face the COVID-19 Virus, we see a similar pattern emerge, in that as the virus spread across China and into surrounding countries, a response team was quickly created to try and stop it. Today, we see how such a plan has failed, for thousands die daily from this terrible virus. We needed to create proper preparations to ready ourselves against this threat years before it emerged, not right as it revealed its horrific self. The great outbreak which Bill Gates has predicted has occurred, and despite warnings from him and many others, we’ve failed to prepare ourselves.

Bill Gates’ call to action is extremely persuasive for his usage of real-life events. By recalling the Ebola incident and the Spanish Flu, he warns us of the potential the next outbreak may have and how we’re completely unprepared to face it. Millions will die as the new virus spreads, and we’ll scramble to try and protect ourselves by making quick and sloppy response teams far after thousands have died. We saw this very same issue today. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m currently living through this foreseen outbreak that I find this video harrowing, that we’ve had this knowledge for years, the insight that a super-virus will emerge, born from years of adaptation and now alien to our bodies, and will become a threat possibly similar in scale to the Spanish Flu, yet we did nothing to stop it. A main criticism I have for this TED Talk is Bill Gates’ lack of information regarding how we could build up these specialized responders. He gives suggestions in regards to using military forces, for they’re trained in technology that would be extremely useful in such cases, yet fails to detail how much it may cost to make these teams, how long it might take to establish — and on a personal note, how he himself didn’t say that he’ll assist in funding this — and more. His warning is simply a warning, nothing more, not a possible plan we could follow nor a guideline. Simply a yell into the dark about a threat, and nothing more.

This TED Talk proved to be possibly useful for my future career. As a journalist, it’s my goal to be assertive, persuasive, and detail any useful detail that I may find in order to assist my points or push my narrative. Bill Gates using previous outbreaks as examples and essentially combining them to detail the threat of the future outbreak and how ill prepared we are is an intelligent play. Using examples from history to teach others, as humans have been doing for all our lives, is a ploy that I must use in all persuasive works I create. Call to actions are best when there are examples of the consequences when one fails to act. 

-Aaron Wells

The Threat Looming Over All – A Response to Greta Thunberg

November 5th, 2020

In our rapidly evolving world, the development of infrastructure and technology is not a pure positive growth, and, in fact, actually has some various negative outcomes. One such outcome is the production of greenhouse gasses, which in abundance, would eventually lead to a global climate change. A change which will alter our world in numerous harmful ways. In Greta Thunberg’s TEDx Talk, “The disarming case to act right now on climate change”, she advocates to the audience the importance of climate change and the criticality that humanity must act now in order to avoid a terrible future. Suggesting that we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide and other various gasses, by at least 15 percent each year, we may be able to avoid having the world increase by 2 degrees globally in temperature — An increase that would cause havoc as seas rise and ecosystems die. We are already facing the consequences of human development, with mass extinction events occurring due to human influence upon wildlife and an increase in global temperatures, yet nearly the whole of humanity appears to be blind to these threats. Scientists, news stations, and countries ignore the issue of climate change, opting to instead turn their eyes to other issues. With nobody altering the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere, along with nobody paying climate change any mind, we truly will face a terrible future that Greta Thunberg warns us about. A future in which the young people today will never be able to enjoy.

Overall, Greta Thunberg’s presentation was well-crafted and clearly stated the issue at hand. Climate change is a difficult and complex topic to discuss, and for a short 10 minute talk, enough information was conveyed to show the threat of climate change, possible solutions to global warming, and to appeal to the audience. The main criticisms that could be found is that the actual outcome of climate change was not clearly discussed or shown. Possible results to global warming, such as accurate estimates to rising sea levels or reduction in wildlife, would’ve been a great addition to further push the threat of global warming. A large portion of the speech went over Greta Thunberg’s rise to where she is today, and while that is important to show how serious she believes this threat to be, does take away crucial time that could be used to further discuss climate change. Appeal to the audience is important, but so is properly explaining the issue-at-hand.

As a future writer, and possible journalist, I may be able to help promote awareness for fixing climate change. Through the usage of articles or books I write, I can inform more people about climate change, teaching them of the future threats if nothing is changed, and what each of us can do to possibly alter the future. Greta Thunberg said that people simply don’t understand climate change, or don’t even know it exists. With my skills, I can be the one to fix one issue at hand, to fit a jigsaw into the massive puzzle that is saving our future.

-Aaron Wells

To Improve the World – A Response to Hugh Evans

November 5th, 2020

To want something to change within the world, one must dedicate the whole of themselves towards this change, or else it will never be seen. Within Hugh Evans’ TED Talk, “What does it mean to be a citizen of the world?”, he presents the idea of the ‘Global Citizen’, a person who doesn’t consider themselves necessarily part of a single country, group, or organization, but rather sees themselves as a person who tries to help anyone they can. These Global Citizens dedicate themselves for the betterment of others, in an attempt to improve all aspects of living for those who are in undeveloped countries or in poverty. Be it through providing funding, raising awareness, or altering governments, these benefits are done to help the needy. While we often raise funds or awareness for those in need in our everyday lives, they almost never last when governmental positions are changed, or when people grow bored of these subjects. Hugh Evans described how he, and some of his friends, managed to set up a concert with multiple famous bands in Australia which rendered the attention of the Australian government. Hugh Evans received major funding from the government, but only a few years later the government changed as new people entered leadership positions, and funding was removed. A major issue with raising awareness or garnering assistance to those in need is that it never truly lasts. However, by promoting the idea of becoming a Global Citizen, in which someone dedicates their life to helping others, these benefits can always be pushed forward and never truly forgotten, for the Global Citizen will dedicate themselves to raising awareness and gathering people together. Through promoting Global Citizens, we can create the assistance others need, and possibly permanently retain these benefits.

Hugh Evans’ TED Talk is persuasive mainly due to the fact that he describes real-life Global Citizens, and his own attempts at helping others. Showing that anybody can be a Global Citizen by showing Divinia’s actions, the woman who gathers pennies from people across the globe to raise money for those in need, tells the audience that they too can become a Global Citizen, and that even a single person makes a massive difference. Even Hugh Evans managed to sway the Australian Government. This appeal to the common people, by showing that common people can create great change, makes the argument for the Global Citizen idea extremely persuasive. There is little I found within this TED Talk that comes to mind regarding criticisms. Perhaps one form of criticism could be that the call to action near the end of the presentation was weak, and didn’t entirely entice me to go out and possibly become one of these Global Citizens.

As a future writer or journalist, I can easily become one of these Global Citizens by using my writing skills, and possibly my audience, to raise awareness for the issues at hand. By constantly writing and creating articles about certain issues, the problem of these issues being forgotten may not occur. Funding and social awareness could possibly exponentially grow, as more writers are inspired by the creations I make, calling them to write themselves about such issues.

-Aaron Wells